It’s impossible to argue with the success that Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence have. The magnetism, charm, and talent that they possess is evident by their amazing careers. I personally love watching them on film, so when I found out they were going to be starring in Passengers together I was interested.
But once I saw the trailers, my interest started to wane. And once I watched the movie and discovered that the “twist” was pretty much what I predicted, all I had to really enjoy in the movie were their performances. And those performances were good, but overall I felt a bit let down by the movie.
And I don’t really think that’s the fault of Passengers, but moreso the fact that there were so many great movies that came out in 2016. So if you’re planning on watching Rogue One, Passengers, or Assassin’s Creed, you may want to do yourself a favor and waste your time, and money, on these sleeper hits instead.
Hell Or High Water
Starring Chris Pine and Ben Foster as bank robbers with an agenda against scumbag foreclosing financiers, and Jeff Bridges as a charmingly racist Sheriff, the movie manages to be exciting, deep, heartwarming, and beautiful with a simple story that simultaneously hits meaningful social themes without coming off as preachy.
Not only is Moonlight brilliantly acted and directed, it takes a whole new look at the typical “coming out” story in such a unique way that it feels unlike any other movie you’ve watched. That chair scene is incredible.
Directed by Tom Ford, yes, fashion designer Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams having marital problems. The story is dark and even brutal, but packed with an emotion and rawness that few other directors can capture like Ford can. It’s crazy to think that this is only his second major feature film he’s directed.
The Nice Guys
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are genuinely hilarious in this action comedy set in the ’70s. They play private investigators, Gosling a bumbling scumbag, Crowe, a no-nonsense bullheaded tough guy, but the dynamic between the two of them and the comedy they generate was really not praised enough. This is a movie that should’ve gotten way more recognition.
10 Cloverfield Lane
John Goodman pulls off an amazing performance in this thriller from the same universe of the found-footage horror film. It’s legitimately scary, but manages to tell a compelling, sparse sci-fi story without bombarding you with CGI explosions every two minutes.
Shia LaBeouf has come a long way from Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull. Despite his public outbursts and scandals it’s obvious the man’s killing himself to become a consummate artist — and his performance in American Honey is proof of that. Shia’s absolutely brilliant in this beautiful film about a traveling magazine subscription salesmen.
Swiss Army Man
Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse with magical powers and stars opposite Paul Dano. No, I’m not joking. This is an actual movie about a man who’s about to hang himself after being stranded on a desert island and then a corpse washes up on shore that helps him learn to live again. It’s a strangely beautiful and empowering film that happens to be hilarious as well. I don’t know how it got made, but I’m glad it did.
Kubo And The Two Strings
Zootopia and Moana were awesome, but 2016 offered up another awesome animated film that didn’t get a lot of recognition: Kubo and the Two Strings. Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, and Art Parkinson all voice characters in this film about a boy who’s on a mission to save his family and solve the mystery of his father: the greatest samurai who ever lived.